01 April 2015

road trip 2015: "today's Todi"

The road trip of March 2015, initiated by the thought that the VRA and ARLIS/NA conferences were close in time and distance, finally ended a couple days ago. Total distance was 5167 miles over 29 days with my car Hieronymus getting the day off while I attended a conference or visited friends.

When we were visiting the Renaissance gardens North of Rome in 1999, Christie suggested, out of the blue, my blue, that we stop in Todi on the way to Orvieto. Todi is the home of Santa Maria della Consolazione, an early 16th century church of Greek cross plan erroneously attributed to Bramante. You can read more about the history of the church by clicking on the name above.
It was a delightful addition to the itinerary. That trip also included a visit to the largely-abandoned hill town Bagnaregio and our 2001 trip to Emilia-Romagna included a stop in Fontanellato. Both of these stops were based on seeing a postcard in the more often visited town or city nearby, here, Bagnaia and Parma. Every trip should have some surprises, some impulsive additions to the itinerary, some Todis.

My 2015 road trip's "Todi" was the West Baden Springs Hotel. I determined, as I left Saint Louis, that my blue highway East would be U.S. 50 across southern Illinois and Indiana toward Cincinnati. As I was thinking about southern Indiana, some brain cell reminded me that there was a circular or polygonal springs hotel that had been derelict and threatened with demolition about 25 or 30 years ago. The name didn't come to me but I looked at the map and noticed the West Baden Springs Hotel, not far off U.S. 50. The hotel has been ostentatiously renovated and is now part of the French Lick Resort and Casino. Well, the hotel was grander in size and glory than I could have imagined. I didn't stay there but I did wallow in the luxury of a crème brûlée and latte at Ballards.


Now home, I have been feeling nostalgic for the road, for the experiences, and also significantly for the interaction with longtime friends and colleagues that I saw along the way.

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